No. 7925934. Sgt. Greenwood, R.T.
9th Battn. R.T.R.
Jessie Mine: I was not able to write to you yesterday: I seemed to have a lot of odd jobs to do during the day… and then in the evening there was another sergeants mess party for the A.T.S. girls from Enschede… The latter was a similar affair to the one we held a week before… but it was a little more interesting for me because Tom Hamnett performed a number of his tricks last night. And I always enjoy watching a conjurer. Once again, the party was quite well organised… commencing with a really good dinner, followed by brief spells of dancing, party games, etc. Everyone behaved very well – and there was no drunkenness whatever:- an unusual state of affairs for sgts. mess functions-!
I believe the girls enjoyed the evening – but this time, they didn’t take away quite so much of our glassware and crockery. Even so… I think we ‘lost’ another half dozen glasses… and another vase and flowers. It was a cut glass vase this time, with a grand bunch of flowers and some tall “spiarrhoea” (sic) (spelling?!) which I had found growing in the garden.
Today, we have been doing a little clearing up in preparation for our move to a village near Osnabrück. The squadron is officially moving on the 30th, but a fairly large party, including myself, is going tomorrow, 29th, to organise things in advance. Whether this will be our last move prior to settling down on our ‘occupation’ duties, I cannot say. I hope it is, providing we have decent billets. A move always entails a lot of work and messing about, besides causing delays and complications in our postal arrangements.
Your last letter tells me that you have started painting the scullery… with the assistance of John and Stan. I suppose the job is finished by now… and I hope it is OK… Likewise I hope you will not get a sudden spasm to start doing more of this heavy work… I know you hate working amidst dirty surroundings… and I know that you want the house to look nice for my homecoming… but please don’t overdo it, my love. Please leave the heavy work, Jess: I can do all that in good time. Personally, I think you have more than one person’s work on your hands in looking after Barry… especially now that he has become such a little imp. I’ll bet he’s a handful, dear… but I’ll bet too that you have plenty of fun – both of you.
Jess – about this gas-cooker business… what have you done? Have you gone and ordered it? Where are you going to put it?.. Do you intend to have it in place of the existing kitchen oven? If not, don’t forget that a ‘flu’ will have to be built to take away the fumes. And if you are going to the trouble of having the coal oven removed, why not keep really up-to-date and have an electric cooker? They may be dearer, but I believe you will be able to get one on H.P. through the Electricity Dept. Or are they unobtainable nowadays? Please don’t think I am opposed to your new cooker idea. Nothing pleases me more than the knowledge that you are getting what you want… and I know you have wanted a new cooker for ages. But I do feel that an electric oven will be better for you in the long run… and I want you to have the best… the best for you… irrespective of the difference in cost. If you haven’t made any definite move yet, please let me know more about your intentions.
I have just had tea… and now there appears nothing for me to talk to you about. It must be those Heinz beans I had: they are not very inspiring from the literary point of view. One thing about our meals these days, Jess… they lack nothing from the arguing angle. Every meal seems to produce its appropriate subject… and this time it was the old topic of our treatment of the Germans. I felt a bit sorry for ‘Terry’, our interpreter. He makes no bones about hating the Germans… all of ’em. He seems convinced that we, the British, are already ‘losing the peace’ by being too kind and soft with them… It’s a thorny subject, Jess… and quite frankly, I hardly know where I stand. At the moment, I feel thoroughly sick and tired of the whole business and feel disposed to try and forget about it… and leave it to those whose business it is to attend to such affairs. I know this is the wrong attitude… but I have had a belly-full of Germans… and I want to forget them… for a time, at any rate…
And now, darling, I am going to be a nuisance… I want you to try and get something for me… I have the loan of a camera, as you know: but it is a ‘plate’ camera, not a ‘film’ camera – In other words, it requires the slightly old-fashioned glass ‘plates’ to use it – not the more modern rolls of films… And if you haven’t already guessed, I can tell you that I want you to try and get me a few ‘plates’… They should be much easier to get than films, because the latter have been in great demand for war purposes… I don’t know the present price of ‘plates’ but if they are, say, 6d (pence) each, could you get me a dozen. Or if they are cheaper, could you get me two dozen? I would like you to try and get them for me, dear… if only to enable me to send you a few pictures. So far, we have been playing about with Jerry plates and tackle, but we have none left… and so we can’t ‘play’ any more! I suggest you see Mr. Steele, and ask him to try Haldens in Albert Square… or Franks on Deansgate. I’m sure he won’t mind doing a favour for my sweetheart.
What I want are “quarter” plates:- the word ‘quarter’ here is an indication of the size: it is a standard plate. If possible, I should like… “pan-chromatic” plates, but if these aren’t available, the ordinary “ortho-chromatic” will do fine… Is that clear?.. Let’s repeat it… 12 (more/less?) pan chromatic quarter-plates or – ortho-chromatic quarter-plates… It’s easy isn’t it. When/if you get them, they should be fairly easy to pack. I know they are glass, but each plate will be fairly well wrapped up when you get it. Think you can manage all this Jess? I leave it to you… but don’t go to any bother. After all ‘photo plates are hardly a necessity, are they? If you can include with the parcel a few sheets of printing paper (the stuff to make the actual pictures) I shouldn’t mind (same “quarter” size)… But this isn’t really necessary, as we still have a fair amount of Jerry paper left… It is the ‘plates’ I’m stuck for.
And now I am going to leave you. I have some packing and sorting out to do… before we depart tomorrow.
Say a few words to Barry for me, dear… And to yourself… just say that your Trevy loves you…
Always and forever…